AFRICA/DR CONGO - The Bishops denounce: "The entire Country risks being destroyed"

Thursday, 24 May 2018 bishops   armed groups  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "In North Kivu, a certain political tendency is pushing towards the fragmentation and the splitting of the province, for its particular interests, in disregard of the will of the population who hope for the unity of North Kivu", says the message published at the end of the Ordinary Session of the Provincial Episcopal Conference of Bukavu (ASSEPB) which was held in Goma from 14 to 20 May.
North Kivu is a province in the east of the DRC that for decades has been living in insecurity due to the presence of dozens of armed groups, some of them of foreign origin, who illegally exploit their enormous natural resources and tend to want to separate this territory from the rest of the Country.
"The entire Country risks collapsing", the Bishops warn in the message sent to Agenzia Fides, because what is happening in North Kivu can lead to "institutionalizing the spirit of tribalism, division and exclusion based on the same logic as that of secession".
According to the Bishops "there is a danger of provoking inter-ethnic rivalry: violence, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity". "This dynamic could also bring us to the threshold of violence and atrocities that we have recently experienced here and elsewhere: in the territory of Beni, in lturi, in northern Katanga, in Kasai, as still today, in South Sudan".
"The permanent insecurity, caused by armed groups, criminal gangs, favored by an unstable government, is causing desolation throughout the country, despite the spectacular militarization, as can be seen in the areas of Beni and Butembo. The kidnapping and mutilation of children in the territory of Uvira and Fizi, the assassination in Kichanga of don Etienne Nsengiyumva, on 8 April 2018, provoked great emotion.
We continue to suffer for the absence of Fr. Charles Kipasa and Fr. Jean Pierre Akilimali kidnapped in Bunyuka on 16 July 2017", the Bishops say.
Faced with the situation and in view of the elections of December 23, the Bishops conclude recommending the population "to return to the principles of the Church's social teaching, including: the dignity of the human person, the common good, social justice, peace and work". "We must free ourselves from the fear of death because Christ conquered death. Let us foster the Christian values of freedom and sacrifice and remain vigilant in prayer". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 24/5/2018)